Score Stream
The Press Box Sports

New NCAA transfer rules is a huge win for college athletes

NCAA Football

Earlier this week, the NCAA announced that they are making their transfer rules more relaxed for collegiate athletes. Players now do not need permission from their current school to seek a transfer. In the past, players had to gain permission from the school they are transferring from if they were seeking financial aid from their new team. Athletes still must notify their coach that they are transferring and coaches now have two days after that notification to put the players in an NCAA database where any team can recruit them. Schools use to have to seek permission from the school that the player was transferring from to be allowed to contact that player.

The new transfer rules go into effect in October of this year and impact football players more than anyone. Basically, because there are more college football players attempting to transfer schools more than any other collegiate sport. This is a huge win on the player side of things. Throughout the years, many players sought permission to transfer to only be denied by their current school. If those players did not have the financial means to support themselves at their new school, they were stuck if the wanted to continue playing college football or any other sport. Favorable reasons that cause many players to seek out a new school are being buried deep on depth charts or staffing changes. Easing up the rules makes it easier for a player to find a situation more beneficial to them.

However, just like many other major rules changes, there’s always a downside. Any time you have a winner (which is the players in this matter), there’s always a loser. In this case, the loser could be Mid-Major schools. Power Five schools could try to manipulate the system and treat the bottom half of Division I football like a farm system. It will give them a chance to see a lesser-known recruit on the field without having to take a gamble. It also could lead to more corruption in college football. The NCAA stated that penalties would be stricter on schools that don’t follow the rules, but there are too many loopholes right now to actually enforce those tougher penalties.

Although, the farm system philosophy by many critics can also backfire on a Power Five school. Let’s say a team snatches up a top recruit out of high school. If he doesn’t like the situation or the playing time he’s getting, he now has the freedom to transfer no matter how his current school feels. That school can no longer block certain football programs that the player would not be permitted to transfer to in the old rules. Many schools usually block players from going to conference rivals in the current rules. But per the new transfer rules, a player can go wherever he pleases.

The new NCAA will need to tweak the transfer rules a little, but this does level the playing field a little more between players and coaching staffs. An NCAA coach can leave a school on a whim to take a better job. Granted, that they are most likely subject to a buyout, but they still have that freedom. The players, on the other hand, do not (well, did not) have that freedom. Those same coaches that could leave a school any time they wanted had the power to block a player from transferring to a school that could provide them a better opportunity. This could cause coaching staffs to take a different approach when recruiting kids out of high school. Expect there to be less empty promises to top high school recruits.

The part of the transfer rules that hasn’t been made very clear is players to want to transfer schools due to disciplinary or academic infractions. A player could be dismissed or suspended from a team for violating a team rule instead of an NCAA rule. Will the new transfer rules reward them with playing at another school instead of facing disciplinary action? The same goes for academics. Some schools (very few) require players to maintain a higher GPA than the 2.0 minimum that is enforced by the NCAA. If a player can’t follow the rules, should they be awarded the opportunity to play at another school? That among keeping the corruption at bay by coaches, school officials, and boosters are the two main issues with these rules. Regardless, the rule change itself is a solid move by the NCAA. Will the floodgates open with many players seeking transfers? I’m not sure on that, but at least now, players have more control over their collegiate careers.